We have been working with Agria on behalf of their Puppy Love campaign where they have revealed that it takes on average under 30 minutes to know your dog is “the one”. As a pet owner my whole life, I couldn’t wait to share my story of meeting Oscar, our sixth little Dove who we very much fell in love with at first sight.
As a child growing up, we always had a dog, and I knew that when I had a family of my own I wanted exactly the same. When Lewis was just six-months-old and we bought our puppy, Charlie, I imagined that the two of them would grow up together the very best of friends and for six blissful years that was the case. Sadly, when I was just a few weeks pregnant with Eva, completely out of the blue, Charlie passed away and I think it’s safe to say that it wasn’t just Lewis whose heart was broken, but mine too.
Initially I vowed that we would never go on to have another dog, despite Lewis’s persistence, and yet when I caught him on the laptop researching different breeds of dogs I couldn’t help but take an interest. Our previous dogs had all been Boxers and so when Lewis started to show me “designer dogs” on line, the most adorable little furball “Cavapoochons” – a mixture of Poodle, Bichon Frise, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels – I started to think that perhaps a smaller breed of dog could be perfect for our growing family.
I’m not sure how but through the powers of persuasion, which only a six-year-old can manage, we found ourselves going to take a look at a new litter of Cavapoochons, born to a breeder just an hour away, with no intention of actually buying one. And yet the second we walked into that room and the most beautiful little puppies came bounding in, all thoughts of “just looking” went out of the window!
Despite there being nine puppies born in that litter, there was just one puppy who caught our eye – larger than the others, pure white against a flurry of apricot and black, leaping up at our ankles with big brown eyes. And in a split second we knew that he was going to be the little puppy to fill the dog-shaped hole in our lives.
And it seems we are not alone in our feelings about Oscar, with Agria’s survey showing that 76% of people said it was love at first sight when they set eyes on their dog, as opposed to 49% who said the same about their partner. Even more interesting was that 64% of Brits prefer dogs to humans, and 53% prefer to snuggle with their dog than their own partner too!
That first night none of us got a moments sleep, lying awake as Oscar yelped until we came down the stairs, bleary-eyed, and allowed him to cuddle up with us on the couch as he dosed on and off. I had forgotten just how difficult those early days are with a puppy, very much like having a newborn, and yet when he nestled into my lap, or nuzzled his heart shaped nose into my neck, I forgave him all of that lack of sleep and remembered that it wouldn’t last forever.
Through toilet training and countless accidents, vaccinations and his first time out on the lead, through puppy training classes when he refused to sit down or shake a paw, and the nights when he squeezed through the baby gate and into Lewis’s bed, I knew that he had us all wrapped around his little finger. And as he grew bigger and fluffier, and noisier and noisier, we embraced all of his little character traits and quirks (even the super loud ones!) and enjoyed every last one.
Over the years, as we have added to our family, Oscar has loved and protected each of the children and he is never far from our sides wherever we go. Last year we had a real scare when he was diagnosed with a tumour on his neck and underwent two rounds of surgery to remove it. Thanks to our pet insurance we were able to get him the right treatment, without worrying how to fund expensive operations, and just a few weeks later we got the amazing news that he was going to be absolutely fine. That really hit home to us just how important pet insurance is and if I could share any advice on buying a dog, it would be to make sure you have pet insurance covered from day one.
From 1st March to 31st, Agria is running their Healthy Start Campaign where, when taking out a full policy with Agria, customers will receive £50 to spend on anything with their vet that supports their pet’s health, such as vaccinations, dental checks and puppy packs. You can read more expert-led advice on the importance of responsible pet ownership here.
** This is a collaborative post with Agria. I have been compensated for taking part in this campaign and all words and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. **